User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
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  1. markc.
    May 5, 2005
    8
    I thought this a beautiful and powerful film.
  2. A.Post
    Jun 20, 2005
    3
    Excellent idea; poorly executed.
  3. Dave
    Feb 7, 2006
    10
    Great film, gives a good view of the effects of war on a family.
  4. DawnJ.
    Mar 4, 2006
    8
    The strengths of the movie lie in its unflinching portrayal of the very personal complexities of war. Two families are impacted-Michael's own wife and daughters and the wife and son of Niels Peter, a townsman and fellow soldier who shares his prison cave. It is in the comparison of these two families in which the film's conflict lies. We get a brief snapshot of Neils The strengths of the movie lie in its unflinching portrayal of the very personal complexities of war. Two families are impacted-Michael's own wife and daughters and the wife and son of Niels Peter, a townsman and fellow soldier who shares his prison cave. It is in the comparison of these two families in which the film's conflict lies. We get a brief snapshot of Neils Peter's family when Michael visits her upon his return. The cropping is close; the camera closes in on a spare white kitchen table. Niels Peter's wife Ditte sit at the table, alone in her grief and longing. The film spends much more time on Sophia's family of two roustabout girls and the constantly present brother Jannik. The scope is expansive, dynamic. The range of laughter and tears is photographed in a medley of shots against a background of colors, textures, hammers, saws, and bustle. Clearly, progress is being made, particularly before Michael's return. There is no sugar coating of post-trauma life, no sentimentalized view of family. The performances are uniformly strong, the photography intense, the music good. The story leaves us with questions: Why do Jannik and Sophia not consummate their desire? Why do the brothers' parents drop out of the story once the elder son has returned? The complexities of the film provoke questions we want to see answered. Even though the film presents nothing startlingly new about PTSD, it at least offers no easy answers and is always absorbing to watch. Expand
  5. RobinM.
    Jun 9, 2005
    9
    Gripping, psychologically intense and dead-on believable, this one will keep you thinking about the Cain and Abel dimensions for days to come. Morally complex, dramatic and intelligent.
  6. ClintH.
    Jul 20, 2005
    10
    A intense Dogme film, acted with such ferocity.
  7. BryanG.
    Feb 23, 2006
    8
    Subtle differences in familiar plot lines make the reality of emotion stand out as the crowning execution in this film. It is wonderfully atypical.
  8. josephf
    May 25, 2005
    5
    Long and dull. in danish. better eaten than watched.
  9. Stephen
    May 13, 2006
    7
    Pretty fair effort all round from Bier, well cast and acted, filmed with vigour straight from the Danish Dogme Director
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. While the film's strength lies in an ensemble effort, it's really Sarah and Jannik who provide the film with its most compelling characters, its momentum and, ultimately, its heart.
  2. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    60
    Sounds rather soapy and melodramatic, but director Susanne Bier, assisted by an able cast, ensures the traumas are painfully realistic and subtly observed.
  3. 70
    What sets Bier's film apart from similar fare are the consistently fine performances and powerful scenes of surprising ferocity.